Karen Chen

Karen Chen

Karen Chen


Graduate Student, Living Environments Laboratory

Years Active



  • B.S., University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin–Madison


Karen Chen’s area of specialization is in human biomechanics and ergonomics, and she is interested in home health care improvement from an ergonomics perspective for the aging and the disabled population. The past research for her M.S. degree involved tennis elbow patients’ upper extremity function and disabled users performance when interacting with touch screens. She is also currently affiliated with the University’s Trace Research and Development Center, involving website usability evaluation for cancer patients’ workplace ergonomics and symptom improvement strategies. Her previous work in the Living Environments Lab involved the Virtual Box Project and another project that studied user force exertions and muscle activity in virtual reality (Virtual Exertions) to interact with virtual objects.

Research Description

Karen’s dissertation involves the usage of virtual reality (VR) as a tool for rehabilitation.  Specifically, her work investigates the feasibility of a VR rehabilitation device in encouraging chronic musculoskeletal pain patients who are fearful of movement-related pain to perform the prescribed therapy more accurately.  In summer 2014, she will be taking on a summer research position in the Liberty Mutual Safety Research Fellowship Program to study the elderly driver behavior and performance using VR.  All these research will contribute toward the understanding of human performance in VR.